Nothing can evoke in me the spirit of Bah Humbug! more surely than wandering up and down the aisles of Walmart, trying to get some ideas for gifts.
I hate the feeling that gifts are obligatory. “So-and-so will be expecting a gift, but I have no idea what she wants.” Or “Please bring a gift in the $5-$10 price range for an exchange on Friday.” All that is, to me, is a time consuming waste of money. Nobody needs more junk, and if you don’t even know whom will be receiving your $5-$10 gift, how can it possibly be thoughtful or personal?
All too often, I let those grumpy thoughts permeate the whole of my Christmas gifting experience.
Fortunately, this year I have had some gift-giving experiences that have reminded me what it is all about:
After our trip to the dollar store, I overheard Josh and Jonah excitedly wrapping all of the presents they had selected for their cousins and siblings. They were confiding in and helping each other as they wrapped.
When the FedEx man admired our citrus trees, we invited him to pick all he wanted. On his next round of deliveries he brought a big bag and picked oranges to his heart’s content.
For my mom and each of my sisters, I made an apron.
It was made from a blanket that my grandmother had given to my mom many years ago, which was now falling apart. I cut it up and converted it into aprons so that each one of us could have a piece of that memory to hold on to. It was a gift that I was truly excited to give. I even enjoyed the time I spent wrapping them just right.
I guess I can’t change the whole culture of commercialism. And I can’t realistically avoid all of the exchanges that, to me, seem pointless. But I can do a better job of enjoying the meaningful gifts, and focusing on the true spirit of gift-giving.
And I can take more time to ponder the ultimate gift… the gift of a Savior.